Now that director Sam Raimi and actor Tobey Maguire are off the franchise, and Sony Pictures has decided to reboot the Spider-Man series and start the Peter Parker saga from scratch, a guessing game has begun about who the studio will hire to direct the new film.
Rumors are swirling that Matthew Vaughn (whose upcoming superhero comedy Kick-Ass has earned strong early praise) and Wes Anderson are in the running. But the smart money has (500) Days of Summer director Marc Webb taking over the webslinger's reins. Deadline Hollywood reports Webb has already met with Sony executives and that the deal is all but official.
Shooting would start this summer with an intended 2012 release date. Speculation also suggests the studio will shoot the film in 3-D (I hope not). Webb would be an inspired choice: He's a smart and energetic filmmaker who brought a distinct but inobtrusive visual style to a genre (the romantic comedy) that usually defies a strong directorial touch.
Nobody knows whether Sony will opt to go with an unknown or a familiar name to star in the reboot. But the script by James Vanderbilt (which was being written at the same time Raimi was working on the fourth film; the studio always intended to start from scratch with the fifth movie) reportedly skews young, keeping Parker a teenager like he was in the comics (Maguire always seemed a bit old to be playing a high schooler).
Most superhero franchises are dormant for a while before they get relaunched: Batman Begins came eight years after the last Batman movie, and there were nearly 20 years between the last two Superman films. Raimi's take on Spider-Man will still be relatively fresh in two years, and I was one of the few people who actually liked Spider-Man 3 (even Raimi has disowned it). I'm not exactly thrilled by the idea of having to sit through the origin story again so soon, either. So whoever ends up directing Spider-Man is going to be under tremendous pressure to make the new movie feel like more than a cash grab.